What Happens In A Xanax Overdose?

Any drug can have the potential for overdose. However, those substances which have a higher risk of being addictive are the ones commonly overdosed as well. If you or a loved one suffer from Xanax abuse, it may be crucial to know the signs and symptoms when one overdoses from this drug.

Xanax Overdose

Xanax overdose is more common than most people think. Did you know that in the United States alone, almost 2 out of 10 people are clinically diagnosed with an anxiety disorder? As diagnoses of anxiety and panic disorders continue to rise, more people are exposed to Xanax and other alprazolam-containing drugs.

These statistics correlate to the overdose of benzodiazepines, the umbrella class of drugs which Xanax belongs to. Since 2013, the number of people being prescribed with Xanax and other similar drugs jumped to 67%. On top of that, in 2015 alone, there were over 8,000 overdose deaths related to the use of benzodiazepines.

As we move away from the numbers and more on the personal scheme of things, the declining health, relationship issues, financial problems and unnecessary loss of life should make us stop and think why Xanax abuse is something we should take seriously. In this post, we will further discuss the dangers of Xanax addiction and how you can get help.

Why Is Xanax Dangerous?

Another question that begs to be answered is about the nature of Xanax. Why is this drug dangerous, if it is known to help in anxiety and panic attacks?

Xanax is dangerous especially when misused because of its relaxant effects. Since the drug binds to the GABA receptors, it allows the brain to slow down in overall function. This means that the body’s skeletal muscles, as well as the vital muscles (brain, lungs, and heart), can potentially slow down or malfunction when a person takes too much Xanax.

When the heart stops pumping, the person stops breathing, and the brain cannot receive oxygen, brain damage happens and the person can potentially die. Even with mild misuse of the drug, Xanax can also present long-term negative health effects, such as:

  • Cognitive problems
  • Impaired motor function
  • Drug dependency
  • Increased risk for seizures

Thus, people who ask “Can you OD on Xanax?” should also be aware of the health problems it brings in the long run. It’s not just about avoiding the risk of overdose, but also preventing the unhealthy effects associated with Xanax abuse.

Risk Factors

Who is most at risk for having a Xanax addiction and eventual overdose? Generally speaking, those who take more frequently and in larger amounts can overdose Xanax easily than those who take them in smaller doses. However, there are also various internal and external factors that influence that risk.

Biological factors

  • Physical health: Metabolism, kidney and liver function, circulation issues, height, and weight, age
  • Mental health: Severity of anxiety, panic attacks, and other mental health issues, presence of other addiction problems

Environmental factors

  • Relationship trauma
  • Dealing with anxiety triggers
  • Personal problems

Behavioral factors

  • Denial
  • Isolation
  • Concealing drug problem
  • Reluctance to seek help

These factors exacerbate someone’s risk for an ongoing Xanax addiction and the potential for overdose. However, this doesn’t mean that people who have less of these risks won’t be addicted to Xanax–anyone, regardless of their biological, environmental, or behavioral makeup always has the potential to suffer from abuse.

Preventing Xanax Overdose

Now, let’s head to a solution-based approach–how can one prevent a Xanax overdose? If you are prescribed with this drug for your anxiety, insomnia, panic attacks, or any other related condition, you should still take it as recommended by your doctor. However, some things to remember when you have a prescription would be:

  • Taking note of the amount and time of each dose, and making sure that it is within your doctor’s guidelines.
  • Avoiding taking contraindicating substances as well as alcohol.
  • Taking more than the intended dosage.

If you notice an increasing tolerance or dependence on Xanax, report it to your doctor as soon as possible.

In some instances, you may be illicitly using Xanax or other alprazolam-containing drugs without a prescription. The best thing to fully remove the risk of an overdose is to treat your Xanax abuse problem. There are many resources you can reach out to for you to get help for drug addiction.

Getting Help For Addiction

If you or a loved one is suffering from Xanax addiction, rest assured that you are not alone in this journey. There are many others, like you, who have gone through an unwanted drug dependency, but eventually recovered from their substance use disorder problem. Below are some steps you can take:

  • Contact a trusted rehab center. A rehab center that offers quality, evidence-based assessment and treatment, has top-notch facilities and provides insurance options should be at the top of your list. If you feel clueless about getting help for a drug addiction problem, addiction specialists are ready to answer any questions you may have.
  • Follow instructions about inpatient or outpatient treatment. The type of treatment you will receive depends on your assessment. Inpatients will stay in the facility while outpatients will receive treatment but will not remain in the rehab premises after their sessions. Healthcare professionals will guide you on things to bring, steps to take, and the resources you need in order to go through rehab.
  • Contact friends and family for support. Your loved ones can provide all kinds of support as you take the first step towards being addiction-free. Let them know about your decision and how they can encourage you with their words, actions, and financial support.

From Overdosed To Overjoyed? It Can Happen

The fear of having a Xanax overdose shouldn’t plague you. You can put a stop to this cycle of addiction once and for all. By taking the first step towards addiction treatment, overdosing on substances should be the least of your worries. Take control and find joy by being addiction-free.


Medical disclaimer:

Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.

Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.

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